A message from 'Queen Elizabeth' to the shah played role in CIA 1953 coup in Iran, documentary says

A message from 'Queen Elizabeth' to the shah played role in CIA 1953 coup in Iran, documentary says...
nbcnews.com 27/02/1953 History

Keywords:#American, #Britain, #British, #CIA, #Canada, #Coup, #Foreign_Office, #Foreign_Secretary, #Iran, #Iranian, #John_Foster_Dulles, #London, #Media, #Mohammad_Reza_Pahlavi, #NBC, #Nbcnews.com, #News, #Pahlavi, #Prime_Minister, #Queen_Elizabeth, #Reza_Pahlavi, #Shah, #State_Department, #Tehran, #University, #University_of_Warwick, #Washington

Historians who uncovered a message from "Queen Elizabeth" believe its misinterpretation helped persuade the shah not to flee Iran at a pivotal moment.
June 7, 2020, 12:57 PM UTC
By Dan De Luce
WASHINGTON — It was a message that was perfectly timed, seeking to reassure a young Iranian monarch in crisis. And it came from the world's most prominent royal, Britain's Queen Elizabeth.
But it soon became clear there was no such message from London. It was a snafu, a garbled diplomatic note and a case of mistaken identity the Americans continued exploiting for their own purposes even after realizing their mistake.
According to "The Queen and the Coup," a documentary airing this month in Britain citing newly discovered U.S. documents, the comedy of errors may have played a key role in the 1953 CIA-British coup that toppled the democratic government of Iran.
The 1953 takeover, which restored Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran to power and has fueled distrust between the U.S. and Iran ever since, has inspired numerous books, documentaries and academic research. But nearly seven decades later, British historians have uncovered State Department documents in U.S. national archives that reveal a new twist in the run-up to the coup.

Following the overthrow of Premier Mossadegh, crowds favoring the return of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi demonstrated their support by hoisting up his photo on a huge plank in the capital.

* * * The key document comes from February 1953, five months before British and U.S. spies helped overthrow the parliamentary government led by Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. The shah of Iran was teetering, and considering fleeing the country, which would effectively wreck the joint British-U.S. plot before it even began.
The document had never come to public attention until now, even though it had been declassified along with other documents in the U.S. archives, according to the documentary produced by Brave New Media for Britain's Channel 4.
On Feb. 27, the U.S. Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, received a "top secret' cable from the American embassy in London relaying a message from Britain's Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, saying:
"Foreign Office this afternoon informed us of receipt message from Eden from Queen Elizabeth expressing concern at latest developments re Shah and strong hope we can find some means of dissuading him from leaving the country."
The extraordinary message appears to read as if Queen Elizabeth is appealing to a fellow monarch to remain resolute.
Washington viewed the message from Britain as an ace card to convince the shah to stay put, said Rory Cormac, professor of international relations at the University of Nottingham, one of two scholars who unearthed the documents.
For the Americans, "this is great," Cormac told NBC News. "This is ammunition that we can use from somebody whom the shah really respects, the queen, the leader of the global royal families."
The U.S. ambassador in Tehran, Loy Henderson, promptly requested a meeting with the shah to deliver the message from Britain, according to the documentary, citing Henderson's account sent back to Washington. A palace aide told the ambassador the shah could not meet in person because he was expecting Prime Minister Mossadegh to arrive to "bid him farewell."
Henderson expressed concern as to whether the phone was secure and then tried to convey his message to the shah via the palace official, using discreet language.
Although there is no way to know what the shah made of the message, he quickly dropped his plans to fly out of Tehran, said Richard Aldrich, professor of politics and international studies at the University of Warwick, the other scholar who discovered the papers.
"He does a U-turn," Aldrich said.
"What we would really like to do as historians is to be able to set up a laboratory and rerun the events and change that one thing, but you can't do that. But my assessment is, that this coup would have been much, much less likely to have happened if the shah had fled," he said.
In London, however, the U.S. embassy soon realized the message it had passed on from British officials could easily be misunderstood.
Citing its earlier telegram, the embassy says the reference to "Queen Elizabeth refers of course to vessel and not – repeat not – to monarch," according to a second note recounted in the documentary.
The British Foreign Secretary had sent his message on board a ship, the RMS Queen Elizabeth, as he headed to Canada for meetings. There was no message for the shah from the queen. There was no top-secret royal diplomacy in play. It was just a blunder caused by a confusingly written note.
---In 1953, the U.S. told the shah that Queen Elizabeth wanted him to stay on the throne. The Americans later realized she never said that, but never fessed up. ---

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